Why You Don't Need to Know What You Want to Be When You Grow Up, Yet

It seems like adults are fascinated with the question, What do you want to be when you grow up? 

It's as though we don't have anything interesting going on in our teenage lives, right?

That annoying question first pops up when we're in elementary school and follows us through college. It may not be phrased that exact way—sometimes it's disguised in the more subtle question, What's your favorite subject? or the scariest of them all, What do you plan on doing after college? 

But the truth is, you really don't need to know what you want to be when you grow up, at least not yet anyway. Scroll below to find out why:

You'll Discover New Interests

Growing up is all about discovering new things. In college you'll be forced to take courses you wouldn't normally take, and one of those odd electives may just turn out to be a hidden passion. Trying to figure out what you want to be now is like deciding on dinner when you are only given two options out of an entire menu. You may like your choice. But something way more delectable could be waiting for you.

Tourist traveling down a street looking at a map

(via Shutterstock)


The Variety Is Endless

It's easy to say that you like dogs so you want to be a vet, or that you like kids so you want to be a teacher, or that you like sports so you want to be an athlete. But the truth is, there are hundreds of careers you've never even heard of or thought of that fall under those umbrella categories. You don't have to answer this pesky what do you want to be question with a definitive answer. If it gives you anxiety, simply reply, I want to work with animals. 


You Should Live in the Present

The old saying goes, "Youth is wasted on the young." While it isn't the most uplifting phrase, it's totally accurate. When we're young all we can think about is the future. How many times did you wish at night to wake up older, or that you were able to drive a car, live on your own or be an adult so you can make your own choices? Well, trust the elders. Once you're all grown up you'll just want to grow back down again. Instead of focusing all of your time and energy on the future, take time to enjoy the present.

Four business people sit waiting for a meeting

(via Shutterstock)


You're Still Growing

You're still in the process of growing—how, exactly, are you supposed to know what you're going to want to be once this process is over? Are you supposed to be a psychic or something? Simply put, you have other things to worry about than the future. Just because it seems like your best friends have it all figured out doesn't mean that you're behind. You have time, and lots of it.


Few People Follow Their Childhood Goals

There's nothing wrong with setting goals at a young age. In fact, we totally advocate for creating life goals. But the truth is, very few people actually end up doing what they set their minds to as teens. We don't mean that in a bad way! It's just that as you grow, you meet new people and discover new things about the world. Sure, you may have wanted to be an astronaut as a kid, but who didn't? We also wanted to be superheroes and eat candy for every meal. Trying to hold yourself to an old dream will be tiring, unmotivating and simply less fun than scrapping that past goal and reaching for new heights.

Young boy imagining his future as an astronaut

(via Shutterstock)


Some Passions Take Longer to Find

You may scratch your head quizzically when you hear a person in their 30s or 40s utter the words, when I grow up. Um. Excuse me. It seems they didn't get the memo: They are grown up.

It may surprise you to know that there isn't really an age stamped on the phrase. Many people don't feel grown up just because they are out of high school or college or have secured a steady job. It's not uncommon to begin your career in one field and then, down the road, change direction completely. Many people switch careers throughout their lives. We don't have to be just one thing. The next time someone asks what you want to be, let them know that you are many things.


Most People Change Their College Majors

Even though this step is still in the distant future, it's important to note that even college students change their minds about their less distant futures. When you apply to college, you specify a major or subject that you're going to focus on studying. This could be anything from Marine Biology to Medieval Literature. But what they don't tell you when you spend hours selecting the course your life will take, is that most people change their majors at least once. Sometimes many times over their college career. If you're just going to change your mind a bunch of times in college, then what's the point of belaboring the question now?

Two college girls in class, one is happy while the other one is not

(via Shutterstock)


As of right now, your primary job should be student. But if you're looking to make a little weekend spending money, check out THESE tips on how to be the best babysitter on the block.